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OTAN Digest #85
September 2016


Pokémon Go in Education

The new Pokémon Go craze has innovative educators working overtime. This article from The Learning Counsel External link opens in new window or tab offers some insight into the craze and a couple of links to other resources with ideas on how to use Pokémon Go in an educational setting. They are very creative ideas. Read article... External link opens in new window or tab

Teachers Are Ready to Embrace AR & VR in the Classroom

At a recent ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education External link opens in new window or tab ) conference, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) were hot topics. More teachers than ever are now using AR & VR apps in the classroom to give students a better understanding of the world around them.

Amazon Jumps into Digital Ed Resource Business: Starts with OER

Amazon has expanded its footing in the education arena with a new service that allows teachers to search for, curate, share, review and access digital resources for use in the classroom. The program is intended to help reduce the amount of time teachers spend online hunting down learning materials for their students.

Although the initial impetus for Amazon Inspire External link opens in new window or tab, as it's called, is to focus on free content, there's no indication that Amazon won't add resources for purchase in the future. The announcement came during the International Society for Technology in Education 2016 Conference External link opens in new window or tab, which took place in Denver this past June. More of the article... External link opens in new window or tab

10 Very Good New Education Web Tools for Teachers

This article contains a collection of some new educational Web tools and mobile apps to try out in your classes.  The purpose of the article is to keep you updated about the new releases in the EdTech world and empower you with the necessary technology to take your teaching and learning to the next level. Some of the things you can do with these applications include: Learn English pronunciation from native speakers; easily save Web content to Google; search YouTube without having to stop the video playing; learn basic math skills through challenging games and activities; unshare sent files in Gmail; create interactive and engaging videos by adding polls, short questions and quizzes; create beautiful presentations and animations using drawn images and stick figures; and many more. Remaining article... External link opens in new window or tab

6 Social Media Activities for Adult Educators

This blog entry offers ideas for ways to use social media within the adult education classroom. It's a good read for anyone struggling with how to use social media for educational purposes. Article...

A Skills Gap? Or a Communication Gap? How Digital Badges Can Be a Bridge

Digital badges are beginning to catch on, not only in academia, but also in the workforce as a way of vetting potential employees. This short blog post explains how digital badges from reliable sources may help employers find qualified candidates. Blog post... External link opens in new window or tab

Virtual Conference October 2016

COABE External link opens in new window or tab will hold a Virtual Conference on Tuesday, October 25th and Wednesday, October 26th. This will include eight, hour-long sessions each day, plus presenter interviews, keynote speakers, and opportunities for networking. Registration is now open.

KQED MindShift: 30 Apps Librarians Recommend

Katrina Schwartz acknowledges that “With so much going on in the classroom, many teachers don’t have the time to test out various apps and find the perfect tool to meet their needs.” In her June 22, 2016 article Schwartz highlights resources by several tech-savvy librarians who have been curating apps External link opens in new window or tab their colleagues find useful and sharing the all-stars with one another through personal learning communities (PLC) and edWeb webinars External link opens in new window or tab . Full article...

TDLS 2017 - Save the Date!

Next year, March 10-11, 2017, North Orange County Community College will be hosting OTAN's Technology and Distance Learning Symposium. So save the date and we will see you there!

The California Adult Education Professional Development Calendar Offers Many Opportunities for Professional Development

If you have never visited the California Adult Ed PD Calendar External link opens in new window or tab, we would like to encourage you to visit soon. All three leadership projects, OTAN, CALPRO, and CASAS, use this calendar to list their upcoming workshops. We are confident you will find a topic of interest.

Save Money - Offer Professional Development On-site

Now is the time to schedule professional development activities. We are looking for adult schools that are willing to take a leadership role in providing Professional Development involving the use of technology to teachers in their region. We will provide the training. You just provide the computer lab. There is no charge for this service. If you would like to participate, call us at 800-894-3113 or e-mail lswanson@otan.us for more details!

September's New Web-based Class Activity!

Resources for Improving Students’ Literacy: Online Sources for Texts and Lesson Materials

One way to help our adult students increase their literacy levels is to build lessons around authentic nonfiction texts, such as the articles and textbook chapters used in introductory college, and career and technical education (CTE) courses. However, getting our hands on such texts can be costly, and some of our students may need more of a build-up to these content-rich texts. Luckily there are free online sources for texts written at multiple levels on timely topics which are accompanied by lesson plans and materials that help students build content knowledge.

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Professional Development

Webinar clipart

Online Workshops & Webinars:

OTAN offers short, online workshops to meet the demands of busy adult educators. We are currently working on our line up for the Fall so stay tuned and check the California Adult Education Professional Development calendar so you won't miss any!

Face-to-Face Workshops:

Contact us at 916-228-2580 or e-mail support@otan.us to schedule one of our workshops at your school this summer or fall! We will do most of the work for you. We just need your available computer lab.

Face to face workshop

The deadline to register for many Face-to-Face workshops is two weeks before the workshop, so register early to avoid disappointment!

Chromebooks for Adult Education
Thursday, October 27, 2016 ~ 12:15 to 3:15 p.m.
Folsom-Cordova Adult School
10850 Gadsten Way
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670

Social Media for Adult Education
Friday, November 4, 2016 ~ 12 noon to 3 p.m.
Glendale Community College - Garfield Campus
1122 East Garfield
Glendale, CA 91205

OTAN offers a wide variety of no-cost, hands-on, three-hour workshops. We will come to your school if you have at least 10 interested participants and an approved lab. If you have a smaller school and need more participants, consider coordinating with other small schools in your area to fill your workshop. If there is a technology topic not listed that your staff needs assistance with, let us know and we will discuss creating a new workshop to meet that need. Here are some of our workshop titles:

Visit our Web site to see the complete list including descriptions and prerequisites for each.

Teaching Resources

Web "Sitings":

Kaywa QR Code Creator External link opens in new window or tab
If you are looking for a QR Code creator, you may want to give this one a try. Just be sure to move the slider to "Static," since that's the free one. It cannot be changed. You can also pay to have a Dynamic code, which is stored at Kaywa and can be changed later if you need to change the information it links to. Also with a paid account, you will see statistics on how many scans have transpired of your code.

Sway External link opens in new window or tab
Introduce your students to digital storytelling using one of Microsoft's newest programs called Sway. Sway is not device dependent so they can use it on any device. Have them create and share their own stories or reflect on what they've learned. They will need to have (or get) a Microsoft Live ID.

Infographic Featuring 10 Things Every Teacher Should Be Able to Do On Google Classroom External link opens in new window or tab
This handy infographic features 10 basic things every teacher that's using Google Classroom should be able to do in Google Classroom. It includes instructions on how to do the 10 things in case you aren't familiar with some of them.

Vocaroo External link opens in new window or tab
Vocaroo is a simple, online voice recording tool. Once recorded, the recording can be embedded in your class Web page or emailed to a student. It can also be downloaded to your computer as an MP3, WAV, Ogg, or FLAC file. A QR code is also available to print and post for sharing in a classroom. Recordings will only be kept on Vocaroo for a couple of months and then it's considered expired. So if you want to keep your recordings, be sure to download them to your computer. There is no limit to the length of a recording, but longer messages can fail in playback.

ELSA Speak External link opens in new window or tab (New App for Accent Reduction)
This is a new app students can use to improve their English pronunciation. It functions as a personal coach to help English learners speak English correctly and more confidently. They will get instant feedback. When signing up for an account, the program wants to know the native language of the student so they can target known issues for that group of language learners. There are currently four categories for learning, but students can type in any word, hear it pronounced then using the microphone on their device, pronounce the word and it will be evaluated by the program for accuracy. Awesome tool! Their Web site also has a blog that could be useful.

Goose Chase External link opens in new window or tab
GooseChase Adventures External link opens in new window or tab has combined the tried and true scavenger hunt with smartphone technology to create exciting activities for your students. It's more than just a standalone app. The GooseChase platform lets you create and facilitate a customized scavenger hunt in minutes. Just create an administrator account using their Web site interface, and then create your game. Choose missions form their list of missions (tasks) or create your own custom missions. Create teams and have at least one person per team download and use the app for their team. Then send your students out to go for the win! A fun way to learn. There are iPhone/iPad/iPod and Android versions of the app. It's free for individual classrooms, but school-wide solutions are not.

I Side With... External link opens in new window or tab
This Web site could be used between now and the election to promote critical thinking about the upcoming election. Allow your students to take the survey covering eight categories and be presented with a list showing how their specific interests and beliefs match up with each presidential candidate. 

Interesting Idea

Gaming and Education
With the Pokemon craze all around us, the idea that gaming, done right, can generate learning, motivation and a sense of adventure. "I can easily see a game app at a museum, sending users to find specific exhibits and discover ideas and histories. There can be a real reward, but just as easily you can just have a leader-board and levels that seem to motivate gamers. Imagine a city creating an app that provides points for each landmark, and cultural event." This would be a marvelous use of gaming in education. What a wonderful way to explore a city or county, especially those that have lots of history or other points of interest.

Source: Guy's Edu Blog External link opens in new window or tab, July 10, 2016 "The Power of Gaming - Pokemon Go


In relation to Facebook:
"Never compare your behind-the-scenes with everyone's highlight reel."